When gardens go wild: Low Carb Pattypan Crustless Pizza Recipe

July 26th, 2011 yum Posted in Egg Free, Garden, Hide your Veggies, Low Carb, Nut Free, Pizza, Rice Free, Soy Free, Vegan Option, Vegetables, Vegetarian, corn free, grain-free, low-sugar, tapioca starch free 14 Comments »


The DH and I have always dreamed of having our own garden. It is a bit hard to do when you live in an apartment, and the only access you have to the great outdoors is on your balcony. Nevertheless, we managed to grow a few tomatoes and basil plants, and were happier because of it. When we bought a house we went a bit wild, and transformed a fourth of our back yard from a neglected underutilized corner to a bustling organic gardening paradise, complete with homemade redwood planters. Once we had the planters, we had to put something in them. We chose a wild assortment of the most exotic things we could think of- purple bush beans, dragon carrots, candy radishes, purple tomatillos, and a ton of squash and gorgeous heirloom potatoes. Ok, squash isn’t usually exotic, but it has a certain appeal to lifetime apartment dwellers because it is not generally something that you can grow on a balcony. (Amazing container gardening magic aside.) The plants were in, the DH put in a drip watering system, and then we waited for the bounty to come rolling in. And roll in it did, with pattypan squash seemingly bursting into existence on the vine right along with fourth of July fireworks.
This gave me pause. I had the basics of organic gardening thanks to reading and a class at Love Apple Farm, but one thing I hadn’t researched was when to harvest my beauties. When was I supposed to take the pattypan off the vine? I wasn’t really sure, but they rapidly grew to an impressive size that I’d never seen at farmer’s market harvest. Why did they pick them when they were so small? I felt rather proud of their size.

Then I went online to research the correct harvesting of pattypan. Whoops. Turns out if you let them get large, supposedly they get rather woody and coarse. I was disheartened but couldn’t believe they could really be that bad. People let zucchini get big, after all. Besides, looking at them gave me an idea. They were such nice, round shapes, and I was reminded of my old traditional eggplant parmesan recipe. They would be the perfect size for a personal pizza un-crust. So, I dipped them in a spiced oil and vinegar marinade and put them on the grill to soften them and add flavor. Then I topped them with a really good pizza sauce and cheese. For my dairy-free Mother, I made a few with Daiya cheese instead. The cheese melted and got all bubbly and delicious, and when I got a bite, I didn’t miss a grain crust at all! They were delicious, and the “hard” rind added structure and texture to the crust but the soft squash interior was still soft and delicious. I did notice that the larger they got, the larger their seeds were, and the center of the round was a bit softer than the rest. It could still hold up to a pizza topping, though, and was easy to eat with a fork, although I wouldn’t try to eat it with my hands just because it is a bit messier than a regular pizza.

I’ve been experimenting with my other giant pattypan and have found that they taste just as good as the littler ones. I like a sturdier squash anyway, and one of my biggest complaints over (bad) zucchini or yellow squash recipes is when they get mushy. It is hard to make these giant pattypan mushy, and they take on flavor and are just delicious sauteed in oil. I did prefer to peel them for sauteed applications as otherwise the rind is hard to eat. It reminds me of kabocha squash, actually.

So, if like me you have monster pattypan growing out of control in your garden- take heart! You can still enjoy them, in a fun way generally only possible when you have a home garden or belong to a garden co-op. You could also try mini pattypan pizzas with farmer market or supermarket babies. In that case, you would probably have to simply slice them in half and take care not to overcook them. They should be just as delicious either way!


Other Pattypan Recipes:
Fried Pattypan Squash Recipe
Pattypan Squash Recipe
Stuffed Pattypan Squash Recipe
Herbed Pattypan Squash Medley Recipe
Simple Pattypan Squash Recipe
Vegan Stuffed Pattypan Squash Recipe

Other innovative recipes using squash as a “crust”:
Butternut Squash Crust Quiche Recipe

Shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Seasonal Sunday

Pattypan Crust-less Pizza Recipe
Ingredients
Mutant, overgrown pattypan squash (5 or more inches diameter)

Marinade:
Olive oil
dash of white balsamic vinegar (brown is fine but will discolor your “pizza” crust)
your favorite multi-herb blend seasoning (italian or other)
salt (if not included in above herb blend)

Topping:
High Quality Pizza Sauce such as Muir Glen Organic
Grated mozzarella OR Daiya equivalent for dairy-free, vegan

Fresh basil for garnish

Directions
Slice your monster Pattypan beasts into 1/2 inch thick slices appropriate for mini-pizzas.

Whisk oil, vinegar, spices and salt together in a pie tin or other medium-sized dish with sides. Keep in mind that pattypan are like eggplant. They are greedy little sponges for oil. Make more than you think you need. Dip both sides pattypan slices in seasoned oil and reserve on a large plate.

Heat your grill or grill pan to a high searing temperature. Lightly shake off any excess oil from your pattypan slices and place them on your grill. Sear and then lower temperature to medium. Let slices soften, and then turn to sear and cook the other side. You want your pattypan tender but not mushy.

You have two options for the pizza preparation if you are using a grill. You can either place your topping on top of your seared pattypan crust in the grill, close the lid and allow the heat to melt the cheese, or you can reserve your slices and heat the topping in the broiler of your oven. The latter option will result in more browning, so I found I preferred to use the broiler. For broiler option, place pattypan slices on a baking sheet and place under broiler on high. Remove when cheese is melted and has browned. You can use Daiya cheese as a dairy-free alternative, but it will not brown in the same way so just remove when melted.

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Vegan Herb Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

September 23rd, 2010 yum Posted in Breastfeeding for Allergic Baby Recipe, Cauliflower, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Low Carb, Nut Free, Nutritional Yeast, Rice Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Vegetables, potato allergy 7 Comments »


I find the Farmer’s Market to be one of the most inspiring places to shop around. This would be true anywhere, but here in California we are especially lucky because many of our markets are open year round and contain the best of our state’s farms. I have a special weakness for organic produce, and when organic meets heirloom in a beautiful, vibrantly colored flat, I can’t help but be inspired. Enter the cauliflower. Ever since I cut potato out of my diet so that I could best breastfeed sensitive Baby Yum, cauliflower has had a special place in my heart. Before I ever started an allergen-free gluten-free diet, I enjoyed southern-style mashed cauliflower as a side dish. Once I went allergen-free and potato-free, this carb-girl started having some serious mashed potato cravings. I had to modify my old recipe quite a bit to fit with my dairy-free diet, and the following recipe is the result. I’ve never been that crazy about plain cauliflower (especially raw, yech), but steamed with herbs and blended with herbs, some healthy olive oil and a dollop of decadent margarine, cauliflower transforms into a whole new, very tasty dish. I like to add fresh herbs to the hot cauliflower because it adds a fresh, green flavor and presentation, but it is tasty without as well. If you plan on serving it with a hearty sauce like vegan gravy, I would probably leave out the dill or parsley. You can also use a plain version as a topping for shepherd’s pie. It is softer than a mashed potato topping but has a very satisfying mouth-feel and flavor. In fact, just talking about it makes me want some! Let me know how you serve your mashed cauliflower in the comments. If you haven’t tried it before, there is no time like the present! I promise that you won’t be sorry you tried it.

*The golden mashed cauliflower is made with some gorgeous yellow cauliflower, as pictured above. The white mashed cauliflower was made using the more commonly available white cauliflower. Both organic, of course!*

This post is an entry in Meatless Mondays

Looking for more gluten-free cauliflower recipes? Try these!
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower recipe
Cauliflower CRUST pizza (low-carb, flourless!)
Elana’s Potato-free Cauliflower “Potato” Salad
Elana’s Cauliflower Rice
Alison’s Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Sorghum Cauliflower Curry Recipe
Dairy Free Rice-free Cauliflower “Risotto”
What’s your favorite cauliflower recipe? Share in comments!

Dairy-free Mashed Cauliflower Recipe
Ingredients
1 head of cauliflower
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. margarine (I use Earth Balance soy-free)
a few sprigs of fresh herb of choice (dill or parsley are nice)
1-2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
Directions
Cut off generous florets off the main cauliflower stalk. Bring water to a boil in steamer and add your florets. If you want, you can add a sprig or two of your fresh herb, reserving some for later. Steam for 8-10 minutes or until you can easily pierce with a fork. Remove herb and discard. Remove florets from steamer and put in your food processor. Process lightly. Add your olive oil, margarine, and fresh herb and process until creamy. Add nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper, and process again to disperse. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Notes
Baby Yum style: For an allergy-prone 14 month old who has already successfully eaten cauliflower, fresh herbs and olive oil:
I left out the margarine and salt.

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